Amid federal investigation into projects overseen by Kosta Diamantis, Connecticut budget panel wants tighter control of state contracting

The Appropriations Committee has raised legislation that potentially would shield the state’s contracting watchdog board from job freezes, emergency budget cuts and other budget-management techniques at the governor’s disposal. Diamantis frustrated municipal leaders last August when he informed Coventry officials that the state wouldn’t help to pay to upgrade aging ventilators in its middle and high schools — an expensive proposition, made more pressing by the continued presence of the coronavirus. Several legislators from both parties raised concerns in the spring of 2019 when Lamont’s then-budget director, Melissa McCaw, unilaterally transferred Diamantis and other staff tied to school construction from DAS into the Office of Policy and Management, despite an existing statute assigning the unit to DAS. The Lamont administration moved the school construction program back to DAS last fall, shortly after Diamantis resigned.

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